Tam Ha (Vietnam). From 8 to 11 January 2021, the young people of Tam Ha (Vietnam), coordinated by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of St. Joseph Community – Mary Help of Christians Province (VTN) – participated in a missionary camp in the land of the Bana ethnic group.
The words of the Animator of the FMA Community of Tam Ha, Sister Anna Bich Uyen, addressed to the young people before their departure: “Bring God to everyone through every word, every gesture of love and service“, motivated the group to enter deeply into the meaning of mission.
The group was welcomed to the parish of Kon Thup by the parish priest, Father Anton Do Hong Tu, Missionary of the Divine Word (SVD), and by the parish council, for the celebration of Holy Mass with the Bana children. The young people and the FMA immediately set to work preparing gifts for needy families, with the material received from many benefactors, to design games, and cook food for the fair.
More than 70 families of leprosy patients, far from the parish, went to collect the gift packages containing various necessities, including materials and medicines to treat wounds. The FMA delivered medicines and different types of vitamins to the parish priest to help parishioners in difficulty.
The parish priest and Sister Teresa My Anh, FMA in charge of the group, opened the fair and delivered the gifts to 200 needy families. Children and parents enthusiastically participated in the games and tasted the food prepared by the sisters and young people. Normally Bana children are shy about interacting with strangers, however, when the sisters and young people gathered the children for circle activities, an open and friendly atmosphere was created. The joy that shone in their eyes repaid the fatigue of travel and work.
The day of Saturday 9 January ended with an ethnic evening enlivened by foods and manifestations of the Cong Chieng culture, typical of the Bana ethnic group. The parish priest and parishioners prepared dinner with smoked chicken specialties, Lam rice, and cultural performances. From food to costumes, to musical instruments, to dances, everything helped to reveal the colors of a remote land steeped in passion. After dinner, a fire was lit in the middle of the courtyard to warm people because of the cold and windy climate and continue the dancing. The parish priest closed the evening with a space of silence to thank God for the good received and to wish them good night.
Before concluding the experience, the young people divided into two groups to visit and bring the gift packages to 20 families of lepers close to the parish. Father Anton, representing the whole parish, expressed his gratitude to the FMA and to the young people who lived the mission without sparing their energy, giving joy to the Bana brothers and sisters, animated by the teaching of Jesus: “Every time you did these things to one of these least of my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25,40).